It’s easy to forget that the San Francisco 49ers still are relatively new to this postseason stuff. Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers burst on the scene in 2011 and became a top level team.
When you mention the 49ers, you think of a smothering defense and an efficient offense. However, that was the 2011 description with Alex Smith. The 2012 version has Colin Kaepernick running around like a mad man, while the defense is still top shelf.
The biggest difference is the experience factor. Last year it was about trying to find out if they were able to make it to the Super Bowl, this year they know they can. They also know the bright lights and increased intensity the playoffs bring.
The New York Giants used that experience to squeeze by the 49ers last year, but San Francisco now understands that it is pedal to the metal, or as they say “take no prisoners, and the wounded get shot.”
Safety Donte Whitner talks about how the 2012 team isn’t star struck, rather they are shooting stars.
“We didn’t understand the magnitude of the moment,” Whitner said of last year’s 20-17 overtime loss to the New York Giants. “In a championship game like that, each and every play is going to be a roller coaster and we need to make plays,” according to Cam Inman of mercurynews.com
“It’s the game for the Super Bowl, so it’s the biggest of the year,” defensive tackle Ray McDonald said. “Guys are going to be a little more amped for a championship game. Growing up, these are the kind of games you want to be in.”
Fellow safety Dashon Gholdson adds:
“Different (49ers) team, different mindset and different opponent,” Goldson said. “Guys are going to be up for it. We’ll be ready. It’s another football game.
“No pressure for us.”